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Damp and Cold - council house *please help*

(21 Posts)
Zabrina90 Mon 16-Jan-17 10:31:17

Hello, please could someone offer some advice or just tell me if I'm making a mountain out of a mole hill!! I have lived in my 1930's council house for the past 3 years. It is freezing - there is no insulation in the house and there are drafts coming from ill fitting windows and doors all around the house. We can't (obviously) afford to have the heating on 24/7 but as soon as we do have it on then switch it off the heat flies out of the house. There's also damp in my living room - but the council just said it's condensation & that we should keep our windows open in the winter. I can't do this as it is absolutely freezing in the 1st place. I have a 3 year old who has had more chest infections than I've had hot dinners and has been into hospital countless times because of the severity of them. I also have a 1 year old who is always sick with colds/coughs/chest infections which means that my partner and I never get any sleep. I'm not even exaggerating how often she is ill, even her nursery made a joke about it. Is this something I can challenge the council about or not do you think? I've had 4 inspectors come to my house but nothing has ever been done except giving me stupid leaflets and unrealistic advice. Worth a call to my health visitor yes or no? Thanks for you help lads and lasses x

hoddtastic Mon 16-Jan-17 10:32:56

you need to air your house by opening the windows daily to let the condensation out.
don't dry washing on rads, don't cook in a room without a window open to let the steam out.
Get a dehumidifier.

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Mon 16-Jan-17 10:36:37

Have you contacted Environmental Health?

toofarfromcivilisation Mon 16-Jan-17 10:37:34

Take the advice. If you don't have ventilation your house will grow mould from the condensation.

Saladd0dger Mon 16-Jan-17 10:38:34

I sympathise with you. 10 years Iv been complaining about damp under the down stairs floors, bowed windows, doors to small for the frame, mould, no insulation and no loft so the heat flys out. It's freezing in here. No advice I'm afraid. Housing know how bad it is but say they can't do anything due to costs and the rest of the estate will want it done.

Zabrina90 Mon 16-Jan-17 11:02:29

Thanks for the help, I have a tumble dryer so nothing gets dried on the radiators as we thought this may be an issue. We keep the back door open in the kitchen only when cooking to let all steam etc out and obviously in the bathroom when showering. The house gets an hour or so a day when each room has a window open but we can't do more than this as it's too cold. Hmmmm I could live with it if it was just me and my partner but all of our wallpapers ruined and there's mould on my attic hatch, but obviously my main concern is for my girls, it doesn't seem fair or right that they should be living in these conditions, I completely understand about the costs but I pay full rent/taxes etc and don't claim anything, I don't have a chip on my shoulder about it but maybe I'm expecting more help from the council than I should do. sad - thanks again smile x

user1477282676 Mon 16-Jan-17 11:04:32

It is cold in the UK but you really do need the windows open for more than an hour a day. Rug up...get them open.

If you're really thinking there's proper mould then call Environmental Health up. There's a department in your local council. They can serve a legal notice to the housing department to make them fix it.

Can you put some photos of the areas of concern?

Frouby Mon 16-Jan-17 11:06:19

Try the environmental health. Tell them you have implemented all the measures the council have suggested and are getting nowhere with it.

Also try your energy company. They might have grants to get insulation in for you.

Block any visable gaps you can see, thick curtains and tinfoil covered cardboard behind your rads to bounce heat back into the room. Get a dehumidifier and keep airing as advised.

Manumission Mon 16-Jan-17 11:09:09

Look you have to at least TRY following the advice to open the windows.

Even if they're wrong and condensation ISN'T the problem, it's part of the process of elimination to rule it out and to show that you're cooperating with the process.

user1477282676 Mon 16-Jan-17 11:24:15

I've lived in poorly maintained, old council properties and you really do need to air them.

The cold won't kill you but damp might...

Zabrina90 Mon 16-Jan-17 11:46:22

Thanks everyone, I will definitely give the windows a go, we've all got dressing gowns and blankets lol, just have to bare with it smile I'm trying not to get too hung up on it as there are people in far worse situations, I just hate seeing my kids so poorly! Thank you smile x

hoddtastic Mon 16-Jan-17 12:28:16

i own my home and have children with asthma (severe asthma) I open the windows in the morning, every morning, to let all the condensation out that has accumulated over night, I squeegee the windows, leave the heating off for the day (no sense in heating the outside)

Leave them for an hour or two while I drop kids to school- If I am working DH nips home before the kids are due in and closes them and pops the thermostat back up. Damp air feels colder than dry, get a dehumidifier.

specialsubject Mon 16-Jan-17 12:39:29

This is shocking, no housing stock should be allowed to get into this state.

Yes, ventilate and let steam out - but if the windows don't fit and there is no insulation it is not acceptable. If this were a private rental I imagine it would be illegal to let it after the new rules come in next year.

have a look outside regarding living room damp. Any gutter issues? Blocked airbricks? Building faults?

This property is a public asset, belonging to all of us including the OP, and is deteriorating because it is not being maintained. Please contact environmental health, and if you have an MP of any use, let them know as well.

there are also schemes for insulation. You do need to be careful as cavity wall insulation can sometimes make things worse.

Testificateman Mon 16-Jan-17 13:00:06

Get onto your landlord/council. This is obviously having an affect on your 1yr old and needs sorting.
You need your house properly insulated and the windows fitted correctly. In this day and age, there is no excuse.
If no joy, go to your local rag.

Zabrina90 Mon 16-Jan-17 13:18:24

Thanks everyone, lots of useful tips, my friend has messaged me to let me borrow another dehumidifier and I'll do the windows as suggested. I'm worried about over dramatizing the issues. An inspector came out and noticed that the drain is broken but I'm not sure of the actual issue, all the blocks have come away and it smells repulsive so someone is coming to fix that. When he came out I asked him to check the windows and he noticed (as did I) that some of the windows frames downstairs moved in place when he touched them and there was a hole in my back wall where a pipe has been fed through to the kitchen sink. Many of the internal doors do not fit and neither do the front/back doors, when you turn the lights on in the house and stand outside (when it's dark) you can see a frame of light all around the doors. I'll ask about insulation and check my energy company for info too. Thanks all x

Alfieisnoisy Mon 16-Jan-17 13:26:43

If necessary your local council who are the landlord should provide a humidifier for you . I know our local council will do this, they loan them out while they investigate repairs.

One other thing, put any complaints to your council in writing, that means there is a paper record, phone calls are too easy to deny.

cestlavielife Mon 16-Jan-17 13:48:30

Don't leave windows open unless bars etc .
Do get a dehumidifier for each room . The good ones cost 120 plus..maybe ask council for grant ?

user1477282676 Mon 16-Jan-17 13:57:57

Special, the house does not belong to you or anyone. It belongs to the council.

specialsubject Mon 16-Jan-17 14:04:49

OK, sorry, forgot the mn oversensitivity disclaimer.

We all pay for the council. The house is still a public asset.

The very idea that it shouldn't be a dump, eh? Shocking.

user1484574450 Mon 16-Jan-17 14:17:00

Hello. I have just bought my second damp house, I renovated the first one cured the damp and moved. I think if your house is draughty it probably isn't condensation. Leaking water/central heating pipes can cause huge areas of damp. Check the soil level outside isn't above the damp proof course or floor. If it is digging the soil out to a lower level usually cures the damp. Leaking gutters, roof and chimneys cause a lot of damp and damage the plaster. The water from leaking chimneys can travel a long way down. If the house is rendered holes or cracks in the render let water in and it travels and then the damp appears in the house.Rubber backed carpet can trap the damp in the floor and cause it to wick up the wall, if the damp is in the floor and the floor can breath it stops the damp moving up the wall. I took all the wall paper off the walls in my house but the walls are now drying out and the mould has gone though I understand you might not want to do this.
Finding the source of the damp is a bit like a detective story but if you can find where it's coming from hopefully the council will cure it.
I really hope you can sort the damp out as it's not healthy and it's very stressful to live with x

PigletJohn Mon 16-Jan-17 16:47:00

when you say there is no insulation, do you seriously mean the loft is uninsulated? Have a look. See how thick it is, if any.

Have you got a water meter?

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